Breaking with tradition: Nithin Lukose on the journey of his film Paka: The River of Blood
Debutant filmmaker Nithin Lukose on the journey of his film Paka: The River of Blood, which won Best Film at NFDC Film Bazaar
Among the films that won prizes at NFDC Film Bazaar recently was debutant Nithin Lukose's Malayalam film, Paka: The River of Blood; Chhatrapal Ninawe’s Marathi film, Ghaath; and Sreejith Karanavar’s Konkani film, Aiz Maka Falea Tuka.
While Paka and Ghaath were part of the Work in Progress lab, Aiz Maka Falea Tuka was showcased as part of the Film Bazaar Recommends section. The films will benefit from Prasad Lab's digital intermediate, and other post-production support, such as Digital Cinema Packages, included as part of Qube’s Moviebuff Appreciation awards.
Nithin, whose Paka won Best film, tells us that Malayalam filmmakers need to reach out to such platforms and build wider networks to get more exposure for their films. "Malayalam filmmakers are not getting enough international attention, and I feel platforms like the NFDC Film Bazaar can help them get that," says Nithin. "The five films that got selected in the Work in Progress category are now in the radar of prestigious international festivals and find support from mentors who are usually the international festival directors. If they are impressed, these films are guaranteed to do the rounds in the festival circuit."
A graduate of Pune's Film and Television Institute (FTII), Nithin has previously worked as a sound designer on the acclaimed Kannada film Thithi, as well as Malayalam films such as Ayaal Sassi and Ambili, Telugu film Mallesham, Dibakar Banerjee's upcoming Hindi film Sandeep Aur Pinki Faraar, and as supervising sound editor in the recently released Arishadvarga.
Paka took over a year to write. However, the shoot was completed in around 32 days. Nithin's script found assistance from a script supervisor recommended by Bombay Rose director Geetanjali Rao. An original screenplay that also got accepted into the second round of Sundance Development Track 2020 recently, Paka was also pitched to production houses in the North, but they weren't enthusiastic about backing something from Malayalam.
Nithin likens the journey of his film to that of Thithi's. "Paka went through the same processes that Thithi did. If we are lucky, we'll know within two months if we got accepted to Cannes or not," he says.
Paka features as many actors as Thithi did, Nithin tells us. Luca actor Nithin George and Ottamuri Velicham actor Vinitha Koshy star in the film besides Basil Paulose who plays the main lead. Nithin calls it a revenge drama spanning generations. "It's about a family feud and a case of bad blood going back decades," he reveals.
Nithin grew confident after receiving positive feedback from European viewers, aside from Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Resul Pookutty, and Anurag Kashyap. In fact, Anurag Kashyap is on board to present the film as an executive producer.
As a filmmaker, Nithin prefers the path less-traveled. He feels the proliferation of OTT platforms has given filmmakers the freedom to think differently. "It's time to break away from the traditional way of thinking," he adds. "One doesn't really need a big star to make a film anymore."